At best, they can come as a distraction from the boredom of a long flight – while at worst, they can be a gastrointestinal bunch of gloop.
Foodies will be delighted to discover that British Airways has partnered with celebrity chef Tom Kerridge to add some pizzazz to its in-flight economy meals, available for purchase at a new Speedbird cafe before you fly, ‘service.
The gourmet menu includes a chic hot steak & ale pie; Ham Hock & Smoked Cheddar Sandwich; Brioche baguette with chicken, bacon and celery; Soft Brie & Apple Chutney Plowman’s Sandwich and Vegetarian Spiced Cauliflower & Chickpea Tortilla Wrap cost between £ 4.10 and £ 4.50.
BA’s New Economy Class menu includes groceries for purchase developed by double-Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge (pictured)
Tom is especially proud of the Warm Steak & Ale Pie, which can be pre-ordered for £ 4.50
Other items on the Speedbird Cafe menu include BrewDog Jet Stream Beer (£ 4.50), Pannier Champagne (£ 17 for 375ml), Bloody Mary (£ 6.50), Dash Sparkling Spring Water (£ 2) and Tapas box by Jose Pizarro (£ 5.95), Cambrook nuts (£ 1.50) and ‘luxurious’ Savoursmiths chips (£ 1.35).
“We want to make sure that the passengers get exactly what they want. So if you order it, you get it from now on,” said a BA spokesman.
Orders must be placed on the High Life Shop website up to 12 hours prior to departure. Duty Free is also available through this portal. Once in the air there can’t be a change in your mind – no additional miniatures of gin or cans of stock can be purchased.
Tom Kerridges British Airways Ham Hock & Smoked Cheddar Sandwich (£ 4.10)
Tom Kerridge’s Brioche Baguette with Chicken, Bacon and Celery (4.50)
Tom Kerridge’s Soft Brie & Apple Chutney Plowman’s Sandwich (£ 4.20)
Then you have to wait for a member of the crew to show up at your seat with something you have ordered.
47-year-old Kerridge, whose Hand & Flowers pub in Marlow is the first UK pub to be awarded two Michelin stars, is particularly happy with his cakes.
“Britain is known around the world for the quality of its meat, so these cakes will be like ambassadors for British cuisine, with real, glazed pastries and full of flavor,” he said. ‘And the sandwiches will have a lot of crunch and punch. They will also be substantial. ‘
Would you like to meet “Peak Posh” for pub grub? Then make your way to The Hand & Flowers in the Georgian town of Marlow in Buckinghamshire
Dishes at Kerridge’s two-star The Hand & Flowers are mini works of art. It also serves fish and chips and Sunday roasts
THE VERDICT ON TOM KERRIDGE’S BRITISH AIRWAYS FOOD
How good is Tom Kerridge branded BA food?
My verdict after sending a box of these to my home – very tasty indeed and sold for a reasonable price.
The cake is calming and filled with melt-in-the-mouth beef. The pastries are spot on too. The ham squat sandwich feels luxurious and the brioche baguette is full of flavor. I liked the contrasting textures, the crunch of the celery, and the spongy softness of the brioche.
Soft Brie Sarnie, meanwhile, was just as impressive – filling and satisfying.
I think the partnership is a masterpiece. It will be very interesting to see what the flying audience thinks.
Ted Thornhill, MailOnline Travel Editor
Is Kerridge concerned that the BA partnership will hurt his reputation, that he will be associated with cattle class Sarnies rather than fine Michelin stars?
Kerridge said during an online food press preview, ‘We have two Michelin stars at The Hand & Flowers, but we have fish and chips and steak and chips on the menu and we do Sunday lunches of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. So we’ve never looked at these tasting menus and gourmand dishes. We serve real ales and beers just like you would have done on the flight.
“We also have a butcher shop, we make cakes on soccer fields. But we always make sure they are the best. I am not worried at all. I’m super proud and I hope people think the best sandwich in the country is on a British Airway flight. ‘
BA has also confirmed that it is dropping its policy of charging passengers for water and snacks such as chips or granola bars, which ex-BA executive director Alex Cruz introduced in 2017 and met with protests.
“We listened to our passengers and found that during the pandemic, people were grateful to have received some free items and so these will continue,” the spokesman said.
The “Buy Before You Fly” initiative will be launched later this month, although hardly anyone flies anywhere. But that embed time should be a perk just in case an entire passenger plane should pre-order multiple cakes from Kerridge – and that unlucky person sitting in the back row has to miss it all over again.
Commenting on the new partnership, Rob Burgess, editor of the frequent flyer website Head for Points, said: ‘This partnership is good news for BA’s Euro Traveler customers and arguably the beginning of the deciphering of the Alex Cruz era by the new BA- CEO Sean Doyle. It also sets a much more upscale tone than the rumored suggestion that Greggs Bakery might be the partner of choice! When Tom Kerridge comes on board in Euro Traveler and focuses on high quality ingredients and origins, the Cruz-inspired notion of BA’s “Race to the Bottom” is ruined by its cost cutting. ‘
Two dishes from the Hand & Flowers Cookbook – smoked haddock omelette on the left and moules marinate with warm, thick foam and treacle bread on the right